Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 9th 2016 Contents A5
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President of the T&T Automobile Association
Rawle Mahabir says there is no need to increase
this country s speed limit, as the current 80 kilo-
metres per hour is sufficient.
He made the appeal yesterday, even as calls are
being made to have the limit increased to 120 kph.
Mahabir said rather than seeking a higher speed
limit, motorists must instead practice a culture of
safe and responsible driving, insisting driving faster
was not the answer.
"You ve got to have real supporting documentation
before you could make the move to increase the speed
limit," Mahabir told the T&T Guardian in a telephone
Apart from this, he said T&T s roads were not
properly constructed to accommodate driving at 120
"We simply do not have these kinds of roads. In
the first instance our drivers need to have the respect
for our current road regulations," Mahabir said.
"And the only reason there is the push to increase
the speed limit is that so many people are accustomed
to driving way beyond the speed limit because of
the lack of enforcement."
He also dismissed claims that the 80 kph speed
limit was contributing to unnecessary traffic, as he
said he had personally observed this was not the case
on the highway last week.
"People have come back to driving at 80 and the
traffic was not that bad. And I believe we ought to
take a hard look at where we ought to be, as opposed
to where we want to go, without the facts," Mahabir
The group Safe Drivers for Efficiency, via a petition,
has called on Transport Minister Fitzgerald Hinds to
modernise existing road traffic laws as it relates to
the speed limit.
The petition was started last week and had already
garnered the support of close to 10,000 people as
It proposes the variable speed limits of 120 kilo-
metres per hour on long open stretches of highway,
100 kilometres per hour approaching simple highway
intersection areas and 60 kph at complex intersec-
It added that in the USA, speed limits have been
Automobile boss against higher speed limit
The T&T Police Service (TTPS) is
being blamed for last Thursday s
attack on Guardian photographer Rishi
Ragoonath and ought to take respon-
sibility, the Media Association of T&T
Ragoonath was physically assaulted
while on duty by a prisoner who
escaped police custody outside the San
Fernando Magistrates Court. He sus-
tained injuries to the head, eyes and
chest. His camera and spectacles were
also damaged. The prisoner, a murder
accused, also verbally threatened his
life.In a release yesterday, MATT said
the TTPS has to take full responsibility
for the attack, as the police was respon-
sible for securing the prisoner at the
time of the assault.
MATT also condemned the TTPS
inaction on issuing a public statement
on this matter and its failure in reaching
out to Ragoonath.
"The association has communicated
with Ag Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams, who informed us
that an investigation was immediately
launched to determine how the prisoner
was able to escape police custody to
assault Ragoonath. While we appreciate
the Commissioner s prompt action, we
further call on him to ensure that the
investigation is expeditious and that
the TTPS publicly reveals the outcome
of its investigation and what action it
intends to take post-investigation," the
MATT says it sees the incident as
demonstrative of the poor state of pris-
oner security, especially in the context
of other breaches of security by pris-
oners being transported to and from
court in the Southern Division.
"The association takes this matter
very seriously in the context of general
citizen insecurity and the number of
murders that reportedly have been
coordinated by prisoners from inside
the prisons. At a time when hits are
reportedly being called from behind
prison walls, Ragoonath must be fearful
for his and his family s safety," MATT
MATT also called on T&T Guardian s
editor-in-chief Orin Gordon to further
establish support for Ragoonath and
to encourage an immediate offer of
professional psychological assistance.
It said the trauma of violence, threats
and intimidation, including cyber-bul-
lying campaigns, must be recognised
as daily threats to the freedom of infor-
mation. It thus called on media houses
to strengthen internal protocols and
policies to support and protect the
health and safety of its media workers.
"This includes immediate access to
physical and psychological medical care,
adequate insurance coverage for jour-
nalists operating in the field or arising
out of stories published and increased
security when necessary," MATT said.
Gordon said the T&T Guardian has
traditionally supported and provided
ongoing support for journalists who,
in the course of doing their jobs, have
met with accidents.
"We are working towards having
Rishi provided with the medical and
related assistance he needs to help him
get through this distressing episode,
including psychological counselling. He
will be fully supported through this.
We have a duty of care to Rishi, not
just in seeking appropriate law enforce-
ment and legal remedies, but in HR
terms," Gordon said.
"I agree with MATT taking the
opportunity to take a wider look at
threats journalists face. I hope that we
the media houses would, with MATT s
help, jointly identify the threats and
codify responses to them."
cops for attack
Health Fair and
5K at the
increased from 113 to 130 kph on longer open highways
to mitigate the risk of drivers falling asleep or tuning
The petition came one day after Works and Trans-
port Minister Fitzgerald Hinds announced that police
would be using speed guns to ticket offenders who
go over the 80 kph speed limit.
So far, seven people have been charged with speed-
ing since the use of speed guns came into effect.
One of those drivers was tagged going at 85 kph.
But yesterday, Mahabir said the stipulated 80 kph
has always been law, but was never enforced, resulting
in drivers "speeding past" the police and getting
away with it.
"So the issue was we were allowed to get into bad
habits, just as PH taxis which are practically illegal
but is now accepted across the board because of the
lack of enforcement," Mahabir said.
He said this particular problem has been com-
pounded by the lack of efficient public transport.
Culture of safe
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